User generated content, money, skills and cloned sheep

Life is busy at Dickinson Towers this week so lighter posting. I’m in the process of moving house, but on a less stressful note I have the pleasure of spending another two days with journos on my video training course. I’m also realising that I’m very slow in adding to my Blogroll, which I need to update.

Still a couple of things have caught my eye that I wanted to flag. If nothing else, it puts them on screen to remind me to rant comment about them later.

US TV station The Bay Areas TV50 decision to lay-off almost all its journos in favour of user-generated has caused some consternation and controversy. Cyndy Green raised this issue a few weeks ago when it happened at another US tv station, Santa Rosa KFTY (doh! Thanks Cyndy for pointing out they are one and the same). I’m not sure why that story it  slipped by then while it seems to have peaked interest now. But comment is appearing

Adrian Monck uses it for a bit of a low blow pun ‘loser generated content’ but I will defer to Lenslinger who has a thoughtful reflection on his blog, As a news camera person in the heart of this stuff, he’s the man in the know.

Citizen vignettes can infuse the glossiest of over-produced newscasts with badly-needed organic content. Internet outlets can put a station’s quality product in front of eyeballs too damn hip to tune it at 5, 6 or 11. Bring. It. On. But to think an undersized station can compete with whatever they can glean from an mostly unpaid populace is giving the possibilities of all this new wondrous gadgetry incredibly short shrift. In short, beware the gladhanding GM of a tiny affiliate, folks. That’s something a maniacal puke in Chocowinity taught me a l-o-n-g time ago.

In other news the figures from Borrell Associates on the rise in profit from online video make interesting but slightly depressing reading. In the light of the previous story and given the logic that many are peddling as reason for going the UG route I’m of the mind to ask why we don’t do user generated advertising, where we let the user make the ads and then they buy the products and we don’t get a penny. The principle of empowering our audience would be the same wouldn’t it.

Still a lot of people pick the story up including Lost Remote where I saw the graphs first.

The idea of what skills a journalist needs is still a topic for discussion . Ryan Sholin makes some excellent, if slightly scary points, which make a good starting point (comments and all) to get in to the discussion. I’ve been following and will add my 2p worth when I get a mo.

Ryan also comments on the discussion that has sprung up around Rob Curleys new project On being . Again, it’s something Ive played with and like – it’s what newspaper video would look like if Apple did it – but a comment on Mellisa Wordens blog which raised the question about how you can monetise it bought this response, by Rob:

Why are online journalists treated so differently at most newspapers than the print journalists are? I mean, if a print editor was planning a huge enterprise project that was going to be really special for the newspaper (and would take some resources to do successfully), would people ask that print editor how he or she was going to monetize it?

Good point. Seems like it’s all money, money this week

And finally, the general question of what, when, how and why we should be doing this video stuff raised its head again as Media Consultant Amy L Webb shrieks at newspaper editors:

Newspaper editors, now hear this! By all means, have the stuffy academic discussion about media consolidation and ownership. But you’d best look over your shoulder to Google and Yahoo, who are in the process of forming partnerships with the companies your reporters are covering for your business and tech sections.

Actually I thought it was the looking over at things like Google etal that prompted this academic discussion in the first place. Still nothing generates business like fear:

You’re about to miss the last train from Clarksville, newspaper editors and publishers. But don’t say you never saw it coming.

And there should be plenty of seats free on that Clarkesville train if the TV 50 story is anything to go by.

I’ll leave the final word to my collegue, and director of the Journalism leaders programme, Francois Nel (nice to see the blog), who picks up on the online video revenue story and the Press Gazette article on video in newspapers that wound me up, with his excellent idea for a new set of ‘its just like TV but blockier’ awards.

…, in the spirit of the ‘citizen journalism/consumer power/we the media etc, I propose the Dolly’s© (in memory of the cloning pioneer). With that, I’m taking suggestions for:
1. Award Categories (“Best Imitation of BBC news bulletin”?)
2. Nominees for each category (see above)
Heck, everything’s still up for grab. If you don’t like the Dolly’s© and you’ve got an alternative suggestion, let me know too.

Vote now and vote hard.

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